Senegal is a very ethnically diverse country with many languages spoken by its residents. The Wolof represents the largest ethnic group at 43%. The Fula and Toucouleur are the second-largest group at 24%, followed by the Serer (14.7%), Jola (4%), Mandinka (3%), Maurers, Bassari, Soninke, and other communities.
There are about 24,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Senegal, most of whom are from Mauritania. There are also nearly 50,000 Europeans, most of whom are French, and Lebanese people in the country, along with small groups of Moroccans and Mauritanians. In urban areas, there are small groups of Vietnamese and a growing number of Chinese immigrant traders.
Senegal Religion, Economy and Politics
Senegal is an extremely religious country, with almost 100% claiming to follow one. The predominant religion is Islam, which is practiced by 94% of the population, the Christian community makes up 5%, and 1% practice a traditional African religion. Within the Muslim population, most practice Sunni Islam, and only 1% practice Ahmadiyya Islam. Sufism, or Islamic Mysticism, is represented by several brotherhoods: Tijanism, Mouridism, Qadiriyya, and Layenism.
As a city with relatively few cities or natural resources, the economy in Senegal is largely held together through the trade of fish, phosphates, nuts, and tourism industries. The agriculture industry is very volatile due to unpredictable weather conditions. Other than their own economy, Senegal relies heavily on foreign aid, making up nearly a third of the country's overall government spending. Even though the economy in Senegal is considered to be pretty stable, nearly half of the citizens are living below the poverty line.
Senegal Population History
Humans have inhabited the land that is currently known as Senegal since long before any thorough history was documented. Starting in the 1400s, a different European country laid stake in the area for four consecutive centuries, starting with the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, French and then the British in the 1700s. In 1816, Britain returned the land to the French, making Senegal a part of French West Africa. Although Senegal remained tied to the French, they spent much of the 20th century asserting their independence, drawing up their own constitution and introducing a three-party political system.